Episode 280: New York, NY – 4/17/1994

It’s a big week here on the podcast with lots to celebrate! It’s Dark Matter week! Coming off the heels of the film experience, we’ll share our instant reaction to listening to the album in that environment including what songs we’ve gravitated towards, and what we’re excited to hear live. Keep in mind that the Live On 4 Legs listening party will happen on Thursday night when the record drops everywhere, if you want to be a part of that round table, please reach out!

Although the brand new record is the lead, we don’t want to bury the purpose of the episode because it’s extremely vital to the history of Pearl Jam. The Paramount Theater show to close out the 1994 tour in the gallows of Madison Square Garden was one of a few fan club shows from this year. It comes a day after their legendary Saturday Night Live performance, a little over the week since the death of Kurt Cobain, and it is the final show involving drummer Dave Abbruzzese. While the fan club crowd was red hot and participated in every song from the hits to the b-sides, this was a night where Ed had a lot on his mind as he was unsure about the future of this band. We share excerpts from an article written in Melody Maker where a frustrated Vedder expresses his anger over Kurt’s death and even questions his own mortality. Directly following this show, Pearl Jam would cancel their plans for a summer tour and part with Dave A shortly afterwards.

Big storylines aside, this is an electric show with some absolute barnburner performances. Rearviewmirror, Daughter and Not For You all came off the heels of the SNL performance the night prior and proved to be just as powerful as they were on TV, other Vitalogy songs such as Whipping and Satan’s Bed are notable moments, Ten b-sides Alone and Footsteps were huge crowd moments and Garden and Blood were huge standouts as well. We’ll have a plethora of guests here as Javier’s Gear Guru segments will focus in on Dave A’s contributions to the band, and we invite Patrick and Brian from our sister podcast, Hallucinogenic Recipe, to come in and discuss the bootleg distribution for this show back in the mid-90’s.

Episode 279: Rochester, NY – 4/7/1994

The beginning of April in 1994 marked the start of a stretch that may go down as one of the most important runs in Pearl Jam’s history. It all starts with the Fox Theater show in Atlanta that everybody knows, and then shortly afterward the news of Kurt Cobain’s death shocked the world. Pearl Jam would go on to play a legendary show at the Orpheum Theater and then shortly after, they are front and center on Saturday Night Live. This show we’re covering here is from Rochester that took place the day before Cobain’s death was announced. After a few instances of playing through some tough off stage issues in the middle of the tour, this was during a run where the band was on a big time hot streak.

This show has some notable moments that makes it stand out among the others from this tour. Wash was the show opener, something that was so rare for the time that they had only done it once all tour. On top of that, it’s a big highlight from this show. This night features the second version of Corduroy ever played. We’ll break that down into detail and discuss how some of the identity remains the same as today, but little tweaks afterwards have made it more of a showstopping performance. And we’ll talk about Ed’s quote in reaction to the real story about Jeremy. Many great performances, and stories from our Patron Robert Rieb who requested this episode!

Episode 277: Memphis, TN – 3/25/1994

This episode is about uncovering unsolved mysteries within Pearl Jam lore. We’re back to celebrating the 30th anniversary of the memorable 1994 tour, and we find ourselves covering a Memphis show that does not get the acclaim that other shows from this run do. But perhaps this show is more significant than we think? We invite on Patron Mike Cribier to share his stories from this night that had been held back for quite some time. After sharing his recollection of this show to Pearl Jam fan run sites, his information could not be verified, and his story was never told. We’re going to rectify that in this episode!

As video from the early 90s tends to be a crapshoot for some Pearl Jam shows, this is indeed a show that does not have any visual aid. So how is it possible to tell if or when things are happening just by listening to bootleg audio? The stories that get revealed feature a fan getting heavily involved in Leash, Mike crowd surfing while wearing a Nosferatu mask and potentially the most important, Ed smashing his mic stand into the ground to create a massive hole. This is something that was famously done in Boston only weeks after, but could this have been the first ocassion?

We’ll get into talking about those storylines, as well as some excellent performances with the highlights being Deep, Not For You, Porch and Blood. We’ll also talk about a pre-Vitalogy version of Last Exit… that a fan in the crowd knows the lyrics to?

Episode 275: Pensacola, FL – 3/9/1994

This episode begins our coverage celebrating the 30th anniversary of Pearl Jam’s Vs. tour in 1994. With this tour falling smack dab in the middle of the band’s prime, there are a plethora of storylines inside and outside of the shows that make this year a memorable one. Vitalogy songs were getting played in the set prior to the album’s release, legendary shows took place in cities such as Boston and Atlanta, dealing with Ticketmaster, bomb threats, backstage break-ins, and Dave Abbruzzese exit from the band.

This episode features a Rock For Choice show that took place in Pensacola, Florida a year after the death of Dr. David Gunn, a doctor who performed safe abortions on women who were unable to birth a child. The band has actively supported a women’s right to choose going back to their formation. You may remember moments such as Ed wearing a t-shirt with a coat hanger on it during their 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live, and most famously at MTV Unplugged where Ed wrote pro-choice on his arm with a marker. The point of the episode is to discuss some of the band’s history of activism, but also within the nature of our world at this current moment, it was extremely difficult to provide an episode on abortion rights without addressing what’s going on. That means you will get to hear our heartfelt opinions on the subject at hand. If this is something that you are uncomfortable listening to at this point in time, please take note of that before checking out the podcast.

The entire night had references (some subtle, others not so much) to the cause that they were fighting to defend, none more relevant than opening with a cover of Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down. The performances are the height of the era with the band absolutely locked in, and Ed tearing into the vocals on songs such as Dissident, Glorified G, Blood, Alive, Porch and many more. We also get to hear a speech from David Gunn Jr. as well as instances where Ed will attack the subject head on.

Episode 226: Murfreesboro, TN – 3/26/1994

We’re covering a Vs./Vitalogy era show this week from 1994 where both albums were nearly splitting play time live, but that’s not the story we’ll have for you here. Murfreesboro is legendary thanks to the appearance of one of the great song-writers of all-time, Steve Cropper. As part of the backing band, Booker T and The MGs, Cropper has played for a number of world renowned stars such as Otis Redding, John Lennon and even featured in the Blues Brothers band. After a 1993 tour where Pearl Jam opened for Neil Young with The MGs as his backing band, this led to an opportunity when they stopped by his home in Tennessee while touring. As a major surprise, he joined the band to perform Dock Of The Bay and Rockin’ In The Free World. The Dock Of The Bay performance became one of the most sought after covers of theirs, and was a track on the popular No Fucking Messiah bootleg. This song and Cropper are the central focus of the episode, and we’ll bring in Patrick and Brian from our sister podcast, Hallucinogenic Recipe, to discuss some of the history behind it.

Outside of the legendary moment, this was one of many scorcher shows in the 1994 tour year. With Dave A coming near the end of his run with the band, this is a hard hitting show that opened the gates for the band to get out of control on multiple occasions. You’ll hear mind blowing versions of Rearviewmirror, Go, Deep, Blood, Alive and Porch that we’ll discuss in full breakdown.

You answered the question of the week this week pertaining to the Dock Of The Bay appearance, which OTOTO type songs have been some of your favorites, and we’ll read the answers on the show. Also, Javier will join us for our Gear Guru segment this week where he’ll talk about Steve Cropper’s unique guitar and sound that he was using in this show.

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Episode 196: Denver, CO – 3/7/1994

The final show of the 2022 (unless additional shows are added later) will emanate from Denver, CO, the same place where they closed out a tour the last time they were there in 2014. This episode will focus on being in Denver at the beginning of a tour, and that happened by in 1994. The third show of a three night stint in 1993 playing CU Boulder was canceled due to security issues. So vowing to never play the university again and wanting to make it up to those kids who missed out, the band played two shows in Denver to kick off the 1994 run.

Both nights were filled with surprises, mostly involving never before heard Vitalogy songs. As night one featured the Spin The Black Circle live debut, we’re going to talk about the debut of Not For You that took place on night 2. This was the beginning of a relationship with the song that would define a lot of what they were going through in 1994 and 1995. We’ll discuss it’s origin and inspiration for writing it. We’ll also cover the live debut of Street Fighting Man, a W.M.A. tag off of Porch, a Rats tag off of Daughter, and not one, but TWO band members losing their pants!

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Pearl Jam Late Night Series: Ep. 7 – Letterman 1998

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re back with another installment of the Late Night series! This month we’re looking into the Letterman performance of Wishlist from 1998. This one isn’t necessarily memorable for the performance, but it’s the official passing of the guard for the next era in Pearl Jam to complete the fivesome (minus Boom, Josh, Stuvered, etc) who have been playing together for almost 25 years. It’s Matt Cameron’s first live appearance for Pearl Jam only a year or so after Soundgarden split up. This goes hand in hand with our weekly episode as well emanating out of Rapid City from 1998, which happens to be Matt’s 6th full show with the band. We’ll discuss the transition from Jack, Matt’s overwhelming workload before going out on tour and his unaverred confidence on the first time out. See you next month for the Letterman 2000 performance of Grievance!

Pearl Jam Late Night Series: Ep. 6 – Letterman 1996

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re back with another installment of the Late Night series! This is the first of many episodes in a row where we’ll cover the band playing The Late Show with David Letterman. This is the first one, and it’s interesting because it’s not solely focused on the just the one performance. Obviously everyone knows the friendship that Letterman has built with the band from all of these appearances to the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of fame induction, but it all started because Letterman couldn’t get a specific song out of his head – Black. For weeks and weeks in early 1996, he begged Paul Schaffer every night for the band to play Black. Then he started to beg for Eddie to swing by and sing it. These went on for weeks and weeks until Ed finally showed up and did it. We’ll run through the entire timeline of that story and why it’s never good to watch people talk about you on TV while you’re high. Of course we’ll end up getting into the Hail, Hail performance as well, mostly to discuss Stone the traffic cone, but also a ripper of a performance that may go down as one of the best versions of the song of all-time.

Pearl Jam Song Tier Lists: Ep. 3 – Vitalogy

A lot of people enjoy lists. Some don’t and they are the most outspoken about it. Know what I say? Screw ’em, let’s do another list! For the third installment of this series, the focus is squarely on Vitalogy. We of course began with two difficult ones, but Vitalogy was the toughest one to configure up until this point (you’ll have to tune into Yield to top it). So the discussion here is between an incredible starting 6 of any album, and then 3 incredible songs near the backend. And then you have your Mops and Prys and Davanitas that need to be discussed by proxy. Tough conversations to have, it’s very clear that some people will not agree, however, the point isn’t exactly for you to agree. It’s for you to potentially get some insight from a perspective of someone who’s been back n forth down their catalog studying live material from every era and understanding what songs have turned into in current day. No opinion is meant to be the same, but if we all respect that we all have one, then the world will be a better place!

Pearl Jam Late Night Series: Ep. 5 – Saturday Night Live 1994

In our fifth installment of the Late Night Series, we’ve approached possibly their most important moment on television and maybe one of the most important ever. SNL 1994 happened at a pivotal time and a turning point in the band’s history. Only a week after the passing of Kurt Cobain, Pearl Jam was thrust into the spotlight and seen as part of the healing process from Kurt’s death. For that, they were given the extremely rare opportunity to play three songs that night. Something that acts like the Rolling Stones and U2 have done before, but not many others. The result? All three performances are mind blowing. Especially Rearviewmirror, which is one of the best overall Pearl Jam live cuts ever. This also came at a time where, unbeknownst to them, Dave Abbruzzese’s time with the band was coming to an end. There’s a lot to discuss in this one including some rehearsal moments that we have access to. All you need to know is that Pearl Jam is fabulouso!

Episode 139: Springfield, MA – 4/6/1994

In this episode we’re going back to those eventful few weeks back in 1994 to cover the show AFTER the iconic Fox Theatre Atlanta show. How would the band follow up that momentous performance? We’ll talk about some early versions of Vitalogy classics, and a wild encore that comes out of nowhere! We’ll cover it all with guest co-host Anthony Krysiewicz (Touring Fan Live), and we’re also joined by Patreon donor Matt Behan, who attended this show as a college student and shares a story at the end that you won’t want to miss! All this plus Ohana Encore news and talk of possible new music?!

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Episode 122: St. Petersburg, FL – 3/29/1994

We’re back into our run of early 90’s episodes as we tackle a great show and memorable bootleg in this episode. St. Petersburg happened on the well documented 1994 tour that the band was on the top of their game for. This is a Patreon requested episode and joining us for this one is Horizon Leg Patron Gabe Spece! Coming off a night in Miami where 24,000 fans attempted to cram into a venue that could only fit 8,000, the local Florida newspapers made attempts to sabotage the band by stating that they incited the “riots” that led to some incidents happening during the show. Unlike what we saw in our Ann Arbor episode that happened just nine days prior, the band didn’t want to let yet another issue (to go along with bomb threats, ticket distribution challenges, backstage break-ins) to hamper their show for a new live crowd that seemingly couldn’t care less what happened to them the night before. The result of that was a very relaxed show with tons of positive energy. Almost a rarity for that tour year. This show has gone down in lore as being one of the better fan recorded bootlegs of that year which helps take in all of the fantastic moments that happened here. Highlights from this one that we’re gonna dig into are opening the set with Rearviewmirror, a fantastic Daughter with both Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2 tag and W.M.A. which essentially led to a full version played. Great improvs off Black and Alive and a rare 3rd encore closer of Throw Your Arms Around Me. But possibly the most important thing to come out of this episode is a bit of a debate that ramps up during Porch. This Porch has always been known for having a Dirty Frank tag, but we dig a little deeper and question if that’s the case here or not. Check it out, you’ll know what we mean!

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Episode 117: Ann Arbor, MI – 3/20/1994

We’re taking this episode back to the revered 1994 tour smack dab in the middle of the Vs. and Vitalogy records. It can be argued that 1994 was Pearl Jam’s most important year – it was a year where they stood their ground in the fight against Ticketmaster, a year where they spoke up about important social justice issues such as pro-choice rights, a year where they were about to fire their drummer, and it was the year where they grieved the loss of Kurt Cobain. The Ann Arbor show fell right in the middle of that tumultuous time as the 10th out of 21 shows on tour and as we’ll discuss throughout this episode, you could tell that the drama was weighing on them a bit. Through the duration of this show we’ll talk about how Ed’s mood seemed to reflect one who was struggling to make it through the night. Visceral performances of songs like Daughter and Porch that utilized improvisations that weren’t necessarily out of character for him at the time, but they set a tone for the show expressing how fed up they were with the ticket fiasco. Ed even made mention to it later in the set and apologized for how impossible it was to get tickets that night. Blood was another performance where his frustration seemed to burst whilst on stage. We also get a few very interesting moments that make this show unique. One of those moments featured Jeremy in the opener spot, something that hasn’t happened at a Pearl Jam show since. Three Vitalogy songs were played 9 months before the album would be released – Last Exit, Not For You and Nothingman, with the latter making it’s live debut and the only performance of the song for over two years. There’s also a very raw version of Yellow Ledbetter that was played for only the 5th time.

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Episode 74: Fairfax, VA – 4/8/1994

In this episode, we look back to the Fairfax 1994 show that Pearl Jam took the stage for just hours after hearing the news of Kurt Cobain’s death. On what was an emotional night, especially for Eddie, the band makes the best of a bad situation and puts together a passionate, spirited performance among the grieving fans. We’ll discuss in this episode the band’s reaction to his death and how it would impact their decisions moving forward as they would be looked upon to fill the void that Kurt left behind. The generation that mourned his death naturally drifted towards Eddie for answers, ones that he wasn’t necessarily ready to provide. We’ll also get a visit from a fellow Pearl Jam podcaster. Roche from Jamily Matters will join us to talk a little bit about being at this Fairfax show which was the first one he attended. He’ll capture the atmosphere and uncertainty in the building from the crowd during this incredibly challenging day. Also a big thank you goes out to Jed Garfunkel who requested this episode, we’ll be telling his story on the show as well.

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Bridge School Series: #3 – October 2, 1994

We’ve reached our third installment of our Bridge School Series finishing up the classic two night stay from 1994. This preview for Vitalogy with Jack getting his second tryout with the band features early and eclectic versions of the new tracks.

Not For You is played in a way that it’s never been done before and Immortality is shared for the first time since the famous Orpheum show including brand new lyrics that we are used to today. This 7-song set also features the first stage rendition of Bee Girl in the encore following night 1’s lead of using an unplayed deep cut when they did Let Me Sleep.

And of course you get all of the expected Bridge songs – Black, Elderly Woman and Daughter. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Episode 69: Chicago, IL – 3/13/1994

When you think of shows from the modern era that are known for their rare gems and put it up against the set list from this Chicago performance 26 years ago, it would still be considered rare. Today’s episode features some of the earliest performances of the best tracks off of Vitalogy such as Last Exit, Not For You and Spin The Black Circle as well as songs that would be considered impossible to hear in 2020. As Ed battled a cold in front of 2,500 fan club members only days after selling out a 13,000 Chicago Stadium, he declared very early on that they were gonna play a bunch of random shit. The Vitalogy songs were still in their early stages so the fans were treated to a preview of the future, but they were also treated to some of the rarest songs in their catalog from that time. Chaser songs such as Hard To Imagine, Alone and fan club song Angel for the most part are songs that people who have been to multiple shows in the last decade or two probably have yet to witness. Can’t forget the magic number 4 on this show as many of the songs mentioned above were being played for their fourth time, including Yellow Ledbetter. The biggest moment from this show developed from Ed’s shenanigans during Porch as he had a scare after diving off an amplifier. Ed put on a hell of a show making the crowd think he was legitimately injured before finishing off another furious version of the song. Thanks to our Patron Dylan Sumpter for requesting this episode!

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Bridge School Series: #2 – October 1, 1994

We continue our series with the second ever Bridge School performance for the band in 94. Hear us break down the first live version of Daniel Johnston song Walking The Cow, an early version of Corduroy before the album was released, a rare appearance of Let Me Sleep and Jack Irons official tryout with the band. Thanks for subscribing and enjoy!

Episode 31: Orpheum Theatre – 4/12/1994

This episode celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Orpheum Theater show – a classic show that many hold in high regard still to this day. It’s a unique and rare set, especially for the time period, that was created by none other than the band’s crew. Uncommon and lesser known songs such as Hard To Imagine and Dirty Frank were busted out while getting some pre-Vitalogy tracks in there such as Tremor Christ, Better Man and Not For You as well. A moment that sticks out from this show which turns into a bit of a debate is the appearance of Vitalogy staple Immortality. It was only the second time performed live and it was in the days following Kurt Cobain’s death. We’ve always heard that Immortality wasn’t written intentionally about Kurt, but considering the time period and how the music world was grieving his death, the song’s words hold even more weight. Words you say? Of course, this was the version of Immortality that was in the early stages in its lyrical composition that doesn’t have the same chilling lyrics as we’ve grown to know from the album. With all that being said, debate still came up on whether this was an important moment in the band’s history and whether or not it should be considered a legendary performance. There are two different schools of thought discussed, so getcha popcorn ready. Outside of all that, there’s also an incredible version of I’ve Got A Feeling played at this show that lasted for about 15 minutes or so. We won’t play all of it for you, but we’ll give you enough to leave you happy!

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Episode 10: Atlanta, GA – 4/3/1994

The time machine takes us to our first trip to the 90’s where Pearl Jam were smack dab in their prime. This Atlanta show is famous for so many different reasons. First, it was broadcast live for free on radio stations across America where young teens and college kids had multiple tape cassettes handy. Second, parts of this show was featured on the highly popular 3-disc Dissident single at a time where boots were slowly starting to become a normal thing. Last but not least, this is the final show before the official death of Kurt Cobain. Eddie dedicates Go to him and we relive some of the news and rumors that surrounded the story of his demise. Also, lots and lots of love for Vs. here as the band was supporting the album on tour, but with Vitalogy on the horizon we get to hear some special little surprises that gave hints to what the album would eventually offer. Our Patreon donor John Farrar joins the show to discuss listening to it on the radio and swapping out cassettes!

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